On Wednesday, seven major corporations announced their support for the RESTAURANTS Act, a bill introduced in June by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) that would establish a $120 billion Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The businesses emphasized the outsized role independent restaurants play in the broader economy, noting the key role they will play in returning the economy to pre-COVID levels.
Organized by the recently-formed Independent Restaurant Coalition, signers spanned across several industries directly tied to restaurants, including accommodations, air travel, and financial services. The signers include:
- American Express
- The Coca-Cola Company
- Delta Air Lines
- Hyatt Hotels
- US Foods
The group writes, “For the sake of our communities and the millions of Americans that the 500,000 small, independent restaurants employ, Congress must pass The RESTAURANTS Act of 2020 in the coming weeks. We wholeheartedly endorse this critical legislation.” The full letter is available below.
“This pandemic isn’t just devastating restaurants– it’s creating irreparable harm to millions of farmers, fishermen, and other businesses up and down the supply chains,” says the Independent Restaurant Coalition. “The companies writing Congress today understand the vital role independent restaurants play supporting industries big and small across the economy, and the recent re-closings of restaurants in Miami, Texas, New York, California, and elsewhere only emphasize the need for urgent action from Congress.”
The RESTAURANTS Act was introduced on June 18 by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR 3), and proposes a $120 billion Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund for small food and beverage establishments facing devastating financial setbacks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The RESTAURANTS Act has bipartisan support within each chamber, with Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) joining the Senate bill. As of today, the House proposal has 57 co-sponsors.
The revitalization fund has been a long sought-after goal for the IRC – the Coalition wrote a letter to Congress on April 29 outlining their request for a bill. Weeks later, at a restaurant industry roundtable at the White House, the IRC took their proposal directly to the president. The IRC has consistently argued that the fund would be pivotal to guaranteeing that the restaurants now reopening will be able to stay open.
The Independent Restaurant Coalition was formed by chefs and independent restaurant owners across the country who have built a grassroots movement to secure vital protections for the nation’s 500,000 independent restaurants and the more than 11 million restaurant workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Coalition’s leadership team includes Tyler Akin, José Andrés, Kevin Boehm, Sean Brock, Katie Button, Andrew Carmellini, Ashley Christensen, Jeanie Chunn, Amanda Cohen, Tom Colicchio, Nina Compton, Rosa Garcia, Suzanne Goin, Gregory Gourdet, Will Guidara, Mason Hereford, Sam Kass, Max Katzenberg, Mike Lata, Camilla Marcus, Ivy Mix, Kwame Onwuachi, Patrick Phelan, Erika Polmar, Naomi Pomeroy, Steven Satterfield, Michael Shemtov, Nancy Silverton, Frank Stitt, Bobby Stuckey, Robert St. John, Caroline Styne, Jill Tyler, and Andrew Zimmern.